State officials say Flint is ignoring aid, Mayor Weaver calls it a smear campaign
FLINT, Mich. – Michigan state officials are concerned about Flint's progress in trading out old water pipes.
A letter from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was sent to Flint City Hall, telling the mayor to start spending state and federal money set aside for the replacement pipes.
MDEQ said there are millions of dollars at Flint's disposal that aren't being used. The letter states that Flint has spent less than 20 percent of the money 18 months after it became available.
"I think that letter is very misleading, and let me say I don't think it is, I know it is," said Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.
Weaver said the state wants people to believe Flint is incompetent.
"We have the crews out there and that's one of the things we've talked about being very proud of is the schedule that we've been able to maintain with the lead service line replacement," Weaver said.
Weaver blames a cumbersome state procurement process and a short staff left behind by the state's emergency managers.
"It's really frustrating, irritating, angering, disappointing that all you put us in this mess and you want to throw rocks about the mess you created?" said Weaver. "They know we're doing the work and it's really funny to me because they think we're not going to send them the invoices?"
Weaver said the relationship between Flint and the state is roughly where it started out, and now she's leaning on the Environmental Protection Agency to act as a go-between in this dispute.
The state is also asking the city to provide an updated work schedule and projections of when that work will be completed. Weaver's office said it's working hard to get the state the paperwork.
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